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Kim Briggs’ husband says he would welcome wider debate on road safety

Matthew Briggs also says there should be calmer discourse between different types of road users

The husband of Kim Briggs, the pedestrian who died in February last year after a collision with cyclist Charlie Alliston on London’s Old Street, says he would welcome a wider debate about the safety of all road users, reports BikeBiz.

 Speaking to Carlton Reid for the Spokesmen podcast, Matthew Briggs spoke about the campaign he launched after Alliston, who had been riding a bike with no front brake, was sentenced last month.

The campaign calls on shops selling fixed-wheel bikes for use on the road to ensure they comply with the law, and also calls on the government to make cyclists who kill or injure people subject to the same laws as motorists.

The mainstream media have seized on that call for a change in the law and transport secretary Jesse Norman announced last month that the government would hold an urgent review of “cycle safety.”

> Government announces cycle safety review in wake of Alliston case

Last week, he also wrote to cycling organisations to tell them to remind their members of their legal obligations while riding a bike.

> Obey! Transport minister tells cyclists to follow Highway Code… well, he asks leaders of cycling organisations to tell them for him

There’s certainly a case for updating the law, with Alliston was prosecuted under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 for causing bodily harm through wanton and furious driving.

But cycling campaigners have underlined that cases in which a pedestrian is killed following a collision with a cyclist are extremely rare and that there should be a wider review encompassing all road users.

When the Department for Transport published its 2016 annual report last week into road traffic casualties in Great Britain, British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman urged the government to do more to improve the safety of all road users.

> Chris Boardman urges government to protect all road users as deaths hit five-year high

Briggs told Reid: "If there is a wider debate about road safety on imperfect roads that we can make it work for all road users, that has to be a good thing.

He went on: “I think the government is listening to [the road safety] debate.

"And if that debate is widened, and we get progress, that has to be a positive."

He also said there needed to be a calmer debate between different types of road users, having experienced through the @Briggscampaign Twitter account he has set up how discussion can quickly become heated.

"I’ve been looking at my Twitter followers," he said. "I only have 400 – I'm not exactly Taylor Swift – it’s equally split between journalists, cabbies and cyclists. What could possibly go wrong?"

He added: "There’s an angry discourse out there and if that is translated out there on the road we’re never going to get anywhere.

“By calming it down, by not shouting at each other, we can get the progress that I want to see and we can also make the progress others want to see."

You can listen to the Spokesmen podcast here, and it is also available via iTunes.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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